CYBERJAYA: Malaysia Dragons romped to a 103-78 win over Kaohsiung Truth to keep their slim Asean Basketball League playoff hopes alive at the Gem-In Mall in Cyberjaya on Saturday.
The defending champions, Dragons improved to 6-13 after their third consecutive victory but will need the Saigon Heat (7-10), currently sitting in the fourth and last playoff spot, to lose their last three games to have a chance of sneaking through.
The Dragons face the Truth again in Taiwan next weekend in their final regular season game but their fate could even be decided before taking to the court as the Heat play their games in hand against Singapore Slingers on Sunday and Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions on Wednesday.
"We can only worry about what we can control," said the Dragons's American point guard Kiwi Gardner, who ended the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
"All we can do is prepare for each game like it's the last for our season. We are going to play for as long as possible and give our best every game."
The Dragons outscored the Truth in each quarter as Joshua Monzon scored 28 points while Skylar Spencer joined Gardner in posting a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds. Wong Yi Hou sank three three-pointers for 12 points.
Filling in for suspended coach Christopher Thomas, who was ejected in the Dragons' win over Saigon last weekend, assistant coach Goh Cheng Huat said the Dragons must immediately turn their attention to next Saturday's match.
"We are still in with a chance but we will have to make an adjustment because the Truth will also make an adjustment. We should be prepared for the next game," said Goh.
"This game was for our coach. The players were focused and played their best in order to push for the win. We have been preparing for this game the whole week."
Raymar Jose paced Kaohsiung with 25 points as the Truth (5-13) dropped to the bottom of the standings and virtually eliminated from the playoff contention.